Virologist says that Easter has not produced any sharp fall in the coronavirus figures

Speaking at Tuesday morning’s National Crisis Centre press conference, the virologist Steven Van Gucht that the extended Easter vacation period has failed to produce a significant fall in the coronavirus figures in Belgium. The number of new infections and hospitalisations is down slightly, but hospital occupancy rates are still high and the situation on ICU wards is critical with 938 ICU beds currently occupied by COVID-19 patients. “This combined with non-COVID care means that all ICU beds are occupied”, Professor Van Gucht said. 

The reopening of schools means that more coronavirus tests will be carried out on children. This means that probably more infections will be detected and reported.  

However, “This doesn't necessarily mean that there are more infections, but rather that we are shining the light more strongly to detect them. Thanks to the extra tests more contacts will be traced, more contacts tested, and more people quarantined. The reopening of the school brings with it the starting up of a large-scale testing mechanism that can help us subdue the epidemic and make schools safe environments. Schools are one of the most controlled environments in this pandemic”, Professor Van Gucht said.

Speaking about the number of new infections, Professor Van Gucht said that if we factor out the effect of the long Easter weekend, the number of new infections is in fact down 16% compared with the previous week.

"The infection rate is still highest among people in their twenties. The figures are falling in all provinces except Liège and Limburg. They are up 14% and 16% respectively”.


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